NFL Injury Report: Ryan Matthews’ Collarbone Fracture

Each week, RulingSports.com will analyze one NFL player’s injury.  Sports Medicine doctor, Dr. Mandy Huggins (Twitter:  @HugginsMD), will provide medical analysis of the injury.  Alicia Jessop will then break down some of the contract ramifications of the injury.

Dr. Mandy Huggins’ Medical Analysis

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews unfortunately suffered yet another injury on Sunday, this time a left clavicle (collarbone) fracture. As you may recall, he suffered a fracture of the right clavicle during the preseason. Clavicle fractures are classified by location of fracture: distal (outer) third, middle third, or proximal (closer to the midline) third. The location of Mathews’ fracture has not been reported, but it is most likely in the middle third. These fractures occur with direct trauma or after a fall onto the shoulder and are very painful. Localized pain, swelling, and a deformity (bump) are seen, and x-rays confirm the diagnosis. Unless the ends of the bone are significantly displaced (do not line up with one another), most clavicle fractures heal fairly well in 4-6 weeks. There is a period of immobilization, though, to allow the bone to heal back together. Needless to say, Mathews will be out for the remainder of the season.

Alicia Jessop’s Contract Analysis

Matthews was signed to a five-year deal by the Chargers in 2010.  Matthews’ contract is worth $25.65 million contract and includes $15 million in guarantees.  The good news for Matthews, thus, is that a significant portion of his contract is guaranteed, so he arguably will not be hurting financially.  The bad news, though, is several things.  First, the bulk of Matthews’ base salary in his contract comes in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, where he’ll earn $1,195,500 and $1,478,250 in base salary, respectively, on top of other bonuses built into those years.  Thus, it is of utmost importance that Matthews fully rehabs so that he can come back in 2013 and play through 2014.  Additionally, another issue is that his continuous bouts with injuries may hurt his earnings potential moving forward.  Matthews was targeted as being the “heir apparent” for LaDainian Tomlinson.  If he continues to be dealt the blow of injuries though, he may not surpass L.T.’s career success.

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